San Antonio Spurs: 1 Stud, 1 dud from blowout loss to Pacers
By Josh Paredes
The San Antonio Spurs would probably win after shooting 14-of-28 from three on any ordinary night. Monday was no ordinary night. Defense was optional in a game where the Pacers shot a blistering 18-for-38 from three, scored 62 points in the paint, and shot 57.1% overall. Yes, that's right, 57.1% -- for the game.
"It was the worst loss of the season," said Coach Popovich after the game. "No competitiveness."
The defeat broke the trend of the Spurs competing well in every game, as they fell down by as many as 26 before eventually losing 131-118. The all-around effort of the Spurs was disappointing, to say the least, and was discouraging considering they were finally facing a team with a sub-500 record.
As San Antonio looks to regroup from an uncharacteristically bad defensive night, here's one stud and one dud from the contest.
San Antonio Spurs Stud: Jock Landale - 10 points, 4/4 FG in 5 minutes
While Dejounte Murray probably had the best game for San Antonio, that isn't saying much. His quick start kept the Spurs in it in the first quarter, but he went scoreless in the entire second half after scoring 16 in the first. Instead, I'll be focusing on someone who shined despite getting almost no playing time all season.
On a night where every Spur on the court was being dominated inside in every way, it sure would've been nice to see Jock Landale get some playing time. Instead, he was thrust into the game in garbage time with the loss already in hand.
Somehow, Landale still ended up in double figures despite extremely limited playing time. His points included a trio of dunks, a three from the top of the key, and a free throw. Although it came against the Pacers' C-team, his impact on the game still shouldn't be ignored going forward.
San Antonio Spurs Dud: Gregg Popovich - 1 way-too-late decision
I made this point before the Spurs' victory in Milwaukee and it still holds true -- there's absolutely no reason for Jock Landale to be glued to the bench night after night. After benching Thaddeus Young for a couple of games, Coach Popovich is either showcasing him for a trade or giving him legitimate minutes because he wants him as part of the rotation. Either way is ok, I suppose, but that shouldn't come at Landale's expense.
Landale's 10 points and one rebound came in the exact same amount of minutes as Drew Eubanks (3 points), albeit against lower-level competition. At this point, Popovich knows what he'll be getting from Eubanks, which is decent output but nothing outstanding. All Jock has shown dating back to last year, the Olympics, and the preseason has been promising, so it's baffling he continues to ride the bench.
The Spurs got absolutely abused in the paint all night long to the tune of 62 points and 10 offensive rebounds. I'm not saying Landale would be Hakeem in there, and he likely wouldn't have changed the outcome in this one, but it definitely couldn't have hurt to see his 6'11 frame battle down low longer than five minutes.